This past week was filled with God appointments. I had several unexpected meetings with people that God had led directly to me for help. On one of these appointments, I met a family as they stood outside of the library in a small spot of shade that was provided by a small tree. What I first noticed about this family was the number of belongings they had piled onto a small one-seat stroller, which held their small son and 8-month-old daughter. The mother was also trying to comfort another small boy that was not able to fit into the stroller with his siblings. I was in a rush. I really didn’t want to stop. I had been at an appointment that had taken too long. I still needed to go to the grocery store. I slowed down and I asked an uncomfortable question, “Are y’all ok?”
The mom looked down, and the dad looked over my head to answer with “we’re ok.”
I knew better. I had seen this many times, so I asked another uncomfortable question, “Do y’all have a place to stay?”
They began to tell me that they were staying at the only emergency shelter in our area. The father is a licensed barber that moved from out of state to Aiken for a job. They had a little money when they got here, but that money was used up staying at a motel. They have found a place to rent, but they need to save up some money from his job to have enough to pay the deposit. I gave them some information to help them access some resources to hopefully get them out of the shelter and into a home as quickly as possible.
What troubles me is that I had to leave them there on the sidewalk outside of the library, since they had nowhere to go for several more hours. Because they are staying at an emergency shelter, they must leave during the day and cannot return until that afternoon. The guests must take all their belongings with them. This is an excellent motivator to encourage someone to get a job, or whatever they need to do to transition out of homelessness. However, for families with children that are not school-aged this adds another barrier to a long list of barriers preventing them from rising above this situation.
Head of the Giant Ministry believes strongly that it is unnecessary to mandate that all guests leave the shelter during the day. Instead, we assess each guest individually to create a personalized plan for them, outlining the requirements that each guest needs to meet to attain the goals that have been established. We understand that allowing guests to stay in the shelter during the day creates an additional operating cost and requires an intense screening. However, the benefits that accompany this level of service far outweigh the costs.
Head of the Giant Ministry is an emergency shelter (we offer each guest a space for up to 90 days) but we also incorporate an established program, along with requirements, to promote the greatest chance of success for the cessation of homelessness. Adherence to these requirements is essential to retain a space in our program, and continue to have a reserved space in the shelter.
The individualized plan for each guest is the key to success in transitioning out of homelessness and obtaining the tools of self-sufficiency, that will aid in remaining stably sheltered. Our program utilizes a holistic approach which focuses on four main areas: mental health, physical health, financial health, and spiritual health.
The mental health portion of the program assesses each guest to determine what services the guest may need. There is a high number of chronically homeless individuals that suffer with some degree of mental illness, and require on-going mental health care provided by a reputable mental health facility. Many individuals that are homeless suffer milder emotional distress due to being homeless and will benefit from professional counseling. Classes and seminars are conducted to teach our guests to recognize “red flags” related to their mental health, like increased stress, not sleeping well, feeling moody (more easily upset or angered) and techniques that help them to deal with these symptoms.
The physical health portion of the program addresses the guest’s overall health in several areas such as: nutrition, physical activity, and management of chronic health problems. Studies have shown that physical health is directly linked to emotional and mental health. HGM’s program incorporates classes that directly affect physical health such as: exercise, nutrition (meal planning, and cooking), parenting classes, and basic health information.
The financial health portion of the program addresses the guest’s overall financial health. There is always a financial component to homelessness, which stems from many different scenarios. Perhaps the guest lost their job through a lay off or their job was eliminated from the market. Many others may experience a life altering situation such as a major health crisis for themselves or a close loved one, or the death of a child or other family member, which causes them to lose their jobs. A loss of income is one of the causes of homelessness. Many of our guests benefit from training in certain basic skill sets like keeping a balanced checking account, saving money for life events, seeking more training to increase their salary, and creating a household budget. Classes designed to provide this training are taught by field experts and completion is mandatory for each guest.
As a Christian ministry, spiritual health is the most important aspect of our program’s focus. HGM prioritizes the spiritual health of our guest, because HGM, and its representatives, believe that true help is found only through a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. HGM’s mission statement communicates that well: Called to serve the homeless of the CSRA by promoting self-sufficiency through the power of God. Each guest is required to attend nightly chapel services and Sunday morning church services at the church of their choosing, unless they are at work during those times. While we do not seek to force anyone to adhere to our Christian beliefs, we believe it is important to present the truth of God’s Word to give them an opportunity to hear the Word.
Each guest is given tasks to help them attain the specific goals that have been set by their Coach. They will meet with their Coach once every two weeks to check on the guest’s progress, and to set new goals to go to the next level. Through this process combined with the required classes in each of the four areas of the program, HGM’s guests are equipped with tools that will serve to help them secure and keep stable housing in the future. HGM’s highly trained volunteer staff assist with child care during the training classes which provides a valuable service to our moms.
I don’t have an update on the family I spoke to outside of the library. I pray that they have found assistance to soon be in their own place again. We are praying and working diligently for God to provide the right building for us to be able to reopen soon. It is heartbreaking to know that there are so many good people that need a little help to get back up on their feet. I believe every Christian should participate in helping our neighbors that have fallen into homelessness. Please pray for God to open as many shelters that are needed to house all the CSRA’s homeless. Please participate by volunteering, donating, and providing financial sponsorship.
I believe if we were to survey our local neighbors, we would find that a high majority would agree on a few basic statements. The first is that there are people in our local community that are struggling with financial burdens. The second, that if we don't do something (anything!) our communities and citizens will cease to be successful and will begin to decline, which will have an adverse effect on all of us within the community.
Here are three simple steps that can be taken that will address the needs listed above and will reduce the risk of community decline in your neighborhood.
The first simple step is to identify what the needs are in your local community. Do you have a large percentage of families that are living below the poverty line? Do you have a large population of veterans? How are the elderly in your community? Are there any families that are unable to have enough food in their home? Is the unemployment rate higher than the national average in your city.
Once you have identified the needs in your community, then you will be on your way to the next step, which is find an organization that is doing something to meet or address that need and see how you can participate in the work they are doing. You would be surprised just how many local non-profits are doing big work in your community, but are lacking in funds, volunteers, and resources to meet all the needs in the community. You can make a big difference in your community by donating your time or resources to help a local non-profit.
After you have become involved in helping your community, the third step is to tell someone else about what is being done to help others throughout your city. If you have connected to a local non-profit, help spread the word about what they are doing so that more people can become involved and more people can be helped.
If you are local to the CSRA and are interested in helping families, veterans, and the elderly that are homeless, consider becoming involved in what Head of the Giant Ministry is doing in the community.
Currently, we are raising money to purchase a property for a new shelter for homeless women and children. As the second largest city in Georgia, Augusta has a large number of homeless men, women and children. Head of the Giant Ministry seeks to provide shelter along with a proven program that transitions the homeless in 90 or less. In fact the average stay in Head of the Giant Ministry's program is 72 days. Our program focuses on four key areas of a person's life: Mental Health, Physical Health, Financial Health, and Spiritual Health. The life coaching that each guest receives is tailored to their individual needs. Head of the Giant Ministry's program has seen over a 95% success rate of transitioning homeless families into stable housing, and the majority of those transitioned remained independently living in stable shelter for over two years. We need your help to continue to reach the homeless of the CSRA. To learn more about working with Head of the Giant Minsitry, please call Lavond Reynolds 706-496-1540 or Renee Reynolds 706-631-8205 for more information.
We have several upcoming events listed below with links to these events on our website. Please help us spread the word!
Attention savvy bargain shoppers!
Now you can support Head of the Giant Ministry by making a $5 donation to HGM and receiving this ticket to a special Charity Sale at Belk Department Store.
This ticket will entitle you to shop exclusive sale items deeply discounted from 20% - 70% off including items rarely placed on sale.
Each ticket also serves as $5 off your total purchase during the sale.
The first 100 people in the doors on the day of the sale will each receive a Belk gift card in an amount of $5 up to $1000!
I got a call about an hour ago from a woman that, along with her four children, has been displaced because of the fire at Magnolia Parks Apartments in South Augusta, on Wednesday May 11. She told me that she works and has lived there a while, and they lost everything. She told me that she is currently sleeping on the floor of her aunt's house, which is far better than some people that are victims to a tragedy like this. This particular fire claimed the life of a toddler. The mom I spoke to is thankful that her children are safe. It seems these tragedies happen in the poorest neighborhoods, where the working poor, scratch out the best life they can. Then a tragedy like this strikes and as a victim, you seek help. Only, it's not enough to really help. This woman received a small amount of money from the American Red Cross. The money was a blessing. The woman was able to purchase some clothes, personal care items, and food. While the money was very much appreciated; it wasn't enough to get her into stable shelter. Her two oldest children are old enough to find a place of their own, and are currently seeking a new place to live. This mother and her two youngest children have a rough road ahead. About six months ago, I would have made a way for this woman to stay at Head of the Giant Ministry's Women and Children's Shelter, But today, all I could do was to get some of her information, and tell her that I would do my very best to get her connected to some of our community partners for whatever help we could provide. HGM has household items and clothes that have ben donated recently that can be given to her once shelter is secured for her. I told her that I would call her back in 24 hours, not with a space at our shelter, but with information to help her get off the floor of her Aunt's house and sleeping in a bed. At the very least.
Yesterday I received a call from a case worker at the Augusta Wounded Warriors Project who was seeking shelter for a homeless female Veteran with a child. Let me repeat that, a homeless female Veteran with a child. Most people ask me, how can this happen in America? There are lots of situations that will result in being a homeless vet. This isn't an anomaly. This is happening so often that many of the veterans are unable to secure shelter through the VA for a long period of time. Many choose to sleep in tents, since it's better than where they slept during combat. Our country has been at war for 15 years. The tragedy is that men and women that have put their lives on the line over seas so that war would not be waged on America's shores, are suffering from the effects of serving in a war. And there was no help that I could offer this homeless, female veteran. Without a building, we can not provide the help that is so desperately needed.
This burdens my heart.
I'm burdened by the broken system we call America. The ones who have the least are the ones that give the most to ensure that their neighbors are not hungry. Did you know that one in four families is struggling with hunger? Right here in America. The ones that have more resources than they know what to do with give the least percentage wise.
I'm burdened because so many take to social media and express their very heated opinion about the latest symptom of sin in our culture, but they don't do much past giving in the offering to help their neighbor that is hungry.
I'm burdened that the poorest areas of our nation go without the basic of necessities, because that part of town isn't important to the financial status of that city or county.
I'm burdened that although most Christians would agree no one in government is going to fix it and we, as the church have been commissioned (The Great Commission) to help those that can not help themselves, but instead of helping there is a lot of finger pointing. Stop relying on your political party to do something about helping your neighbor. The government can not provide everything for the poor. It was never designed to help, it has always been the church's responsibility as a direct instruction from God.
I'm burdened that many generous Christians will give to a fund to help earthquake victims and people without clean water (and they should), but they aren't mindful of the vast mission field here in their own backyards. I'm begging you! Don't turn a blind eye to the mission field in your community. Let us stand together and declare "not in my backyard".
I believe that God's heart is broken for "the least of these" that are in need. I believe that the Church, the Body of Christ, should be heartbroken for these people in need. My prayer: Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours. I want to be sensitive to the needs of others, so that I can be the tool in the hand of my Savior to meet those needs.
Please pray and become partners with Head of the Giant Ministry, so that we can make a difference to the souls living in our community. We need everyone to rally together and help us find a building or property to get a shelter open for women and children like these. You can easily sign up to make re-occurring donations through your bank account by clicking the donate button on our website, or a donation can be made through check payable to Head of the Giant Ministry, and mailed to P.O. Box 1411 Augusta, Georgia 30903
Make plans to join us for the Women Helping Women Conference in July. The focus is on local missions.
Head of the Giant Ministry's Women and Children's Shelter is currently closed, and we are waiting on God to provide us with a new location. The building HGM was leasing at 2136 Circular Drive was condemned due to the landlord making structural additions without permits. The owner made these additions between 2009 and 2012, and was fined by the city for not acquiring the proper permits and for not using a licensed contractor to do the work. In 2012 the owner was told that he could not sell or lease the building to anyone until he hired an architect to show the plans, acquired the proper permits, and hired a licensed contractor. Head of the Giant entered into a lease agreement with the owner in February of 2014 with no knowledge of these issues. Before HGM opened up for occupancy, the Fire Marshall and City Code officials were brought in to inspect the building and none of those issues were mentioned.
City code and zoning sought to work with him over the years, as well as did Head of the Giant over the last year. Our partner churches sought to help us get the building to a condition where it would increase capacity, appearance and functionally. Obviously, this would have had to be done under a long-term lease agreement, lease to own, or through owner write-off of payments. No such agreement was reached. In September of 2015 code and zoning notified us that the problem with permits existed and that they had notified the owner of what needed to be done to allow occupancy of the building. Based on our experience with the owner and wisdom given by God, we stopped accepting new guests into the shelter and sought to transition the current guests as quickly as possible. Our thanks and praise to God for allowing Head of the Giant Ministry to successfully place the current guests into their own homes.
Based on our proven success with the homeless, with over 350 families, and 200 single women having been transitioned, and a Gospel message resulting in 73 souls saved, we are certain that Head of the Giant is in the center of the will of God. We see this as only an opportunity to improve conditions and increase capacity for more women with children, and singles. Our heart is burden by the six to ten calls daily we are receiving from women unable to find shelter in the Augusta area. Yet, there is a period of waiting that is happening. As Christians that means for us: to give it to God (we have), to improve our infrastructure (we are), and to share this need with like believers (we are).
How can you help?
Head of the Giant Ministry's staff and volunteers are committed to the work that God has given this ministry to do to minister to and transition homeless women and children. The shelter for men is still open and thriving. We are currently making plans to have our annual Christmas Party and gift give away. If you are interested in providing supplies, food, or toys, please contact Renée Reynolds. More details, including the location of the party, coming soon!
Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith He unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but
the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will
send forth laborers into his harvest.
I’ve often heard Christians say that they are praying to discover God’s will for
their lives. It seems to be a mysterious thing that must be sought after and
waited on. I believe that discovering God’s will for our lives is a very easy
thing to do. In the above scripture, we are instructed to pray that “the Lord of
the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” God is the Lord
of the harvest. God is working in the lives of the lost and hurting,
orchestrating everything to lead them into a relationship with Him. Are you
searching for God’s will? Here it is: we as Christians are instructed to pray
that laborers would be sent into the harvest. At Head of the Giant Ministry, we
see first hand the expanse of the ripened harvest. Daily, we are called upon to
assist the homeless and forsaken. In fact, the harvest is so plenteous that we
are unable to help all that are sent our way. At HGM, we need Christians to
partner with us to labor in the harvest.
In the last month, HGM was able to move the shelter for homeless women with
children from a small house that was 2100 sq. feet, to a large 8000 sq. ft.
facility. This allowed us to immediately double the number of homeless women and
children that we were able to help. In our previous location, we could help no
more than four families at a time. This would generally mean four mothers and up
to eleven children ranging in ages from newborn to eighteen. Due to the limited
space in our old facility, we had seven twin size beds, one small cot, and
two cribs. In our new facility we currently have eighteen beds in use (to
include cribs). We also have been able to expand our assistance to single women
without children. We have ten more beds that can be put in place, but we are in
need of finances and volunteers to be able to assist this many more
homeless women and children.
There is a field for everyone to labor. Jesus made it very clear in the above passage
of scripture that He has prepared a field that is ripe with harvest. If you are
praying about serving God in some capacity, HGM is a place that offers many
areas that you can use your talents and abilities for the Lord. We need
volunteers to help in many different areas of the shelter. We need women to come
in and assume the authority of the shelter, and to run the daily schedule which
will allow our director to take a break. We are in need of some women who can
stay over night and be a presence of authority. Most importantly, we are in need
of people to partner with us financially. You may not be able to physically
volunteer and give of your time, but God has blessed you with the gift of
giving. Would you pray and ask God to lay upon your heart a dollar amount to
pledge to HGM on a monthly basis?
The harvest is truly plenteous, but the laborers are few. Would you please partner
with our ministry as we labor in the harvest of the homeless?
Author: Renee Reynolds
It is so amazing how God's alignment seemingly always consist of patience, pray and persistence. That patience, yet persistence is shown by Noah building an ark for something the world had not yet seen, rain. Waiting patiently for what God has in place does not mean that we should be in a "do noting" state. Our acts of service within our belief that what we prayed for will come to fruition is essential for acting upon our faith. It serves the purpose of incorporating others, for their role in God's plan to help and move Kingdom Building through individuals and communities.
Head of the Giant Ministry moved closer to opening its next shelter for women and children on Tuesday, January
17, 2012, when a facility becoming available for our use. The house is already zoned commercial , in with a secure fenced in area ; the perfect location to meet immediate needs and to grow as demand increases. Many hands within the CSRA are coming together to assure the success of Head of the Giant Ministry. We ask today that you join in those efforts by donating much needed financial support, volunteering and/or providing resources.
Donations should be made to Head of the Giant Ministry, P.O. Box 1411 Augusta, Georgia 30903. Please call 706.496.1540 for how individuals, churches or organizations can help, and please, like us on facebook,
We are so excited about all that God has done to use Head of the Giant Ministry to change the lives of so many, so soon. Since we opened September 1st, we have been able to transition 25 men. We have seen seven men saved and eight join local churches. We have been able to work with local businesses to assure that 15 people have been employed.
An emphasis has been placed on establishing partnerships with agencies, churches and local businesses. Goodwill and the Veterans Administration have worked closely with us in areas of training and making assessments for the workforce.
We are very excited about opening our shelter for homeless women and children during the month of December.
Every day we receive calls from women in distress seeking shelter for their children and themselves. We are certain that HGM's steps have been ordered to help assure that the basic of food, clothing and shelter is provided. Like with the men, Christian life coping skills will be provided.
I ask today that during this Holiday season you prioritize Head of the Giant Ministry's efforts to transition the homeless by; making financial donations, volunteering, praying for us, or sharing information about what we are doing to friends.
Lavond Reynolds is the executive director/founder of Head of the Giant Ministry, Inc. His desire to serve Christ by meeting the needs of the homeless in the CSRA comes from a compassion for people and personal experience.